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Local LGBT Community Supports May Day Immigration Reform Rally

By Joseph Erbentraut in News on Apr 28, 2010 9:00PM

Photo by salvagekat
Arizona's controversial immigration law (SB 1070) has angered many around the nation in recent days, with everyone from Canadian dream-pop outfit Stars to San Francisco and Los Angeles city employees threatening boycotts of the state. Here in Chicago, activists, who demonstrated this week in Broadview, are preparing to rally against the law as part of the annual May Day event. The rally, set for Saturday at 1 p.m., will begin from Union Park, followed by a march downtown.

And many LGBT activists will be among those present in Union Park. The parallels between anti-immigration and anti-gay legislation are not difficult to find, as noted by Gay Liberation Network co-founder Andy Thayer in an informative post over at Huffington Post. Thayer notes the state's Governor Jan Brewer claimed the passage of SB 1070 "represents what is best for Arizona." The statement is eerily similar to her words last year when she said "God has placed me in this powerful position as Arizona's governor" as rationale in eliminating domestic partner health benefits for same-sex-partnered state employees.

The language of SB 1070 - legally requiring individuals to report the presence of any undocumented immigrants in their midst - also calls to mind the draconian requirements of the Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill, criminalizing anyone who does not report gays to the government.

Thayer also had strong words for the Obama administration's slow action on the immigration reform he's alluded to in numerous appeals to voters:

"The 'Yes We Can' candidate cynically appropriated the main slogan of the immigrant rights movement ('Si se puede'), delivered nothing, and now expects the left to bail his party out in the Congressional bi-elections. The immigrant rights movement, indeed all progressive movements, must resist this lure."

Saturday's May Day rally kicks off at 1 p.m. from the corner of Lake and Ashland in Union Park. Gays looking to join in the cause can search out the Gay Liberation Network contingent's rainbow flags and purple banner reading, “Lesbians and Gays SUPPORT Immigrant Rights!”